Recommendations for Montana spring bear

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
Hi everybody. I'm new here and still trying to figure out exactly how this works lol. Me and a couple buddies are trying to put together a public land backpack style spring bear hunt in Montana. This would be the first time any of us has ever bear hunted in the west. We do have a fair amount of backpacking experience. Specifically we have been looking at the areas south and southeast of Bozeman. We are all in good physical condition and not afraid to hike back in away from the crowds. My question is, would these units be a good starting point for newbie bear hunters or should we consider elsewhere? any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Ps. We are thinking probably 5 to 7 days in mid may.
 
Last edited:

Jake Larsen

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
853
Location
Bozeman, MT
Weather is a crap shoot. Could be 70s and sunny, or a blizzard. Good time to hunt that general area, but just be aware of that. Also, depending on the year/drainige/exposure, snow line could be anywhere from 7-9000 feet.


Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
 

jpiazza91

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Messages
35
Location
SE Washington
There are bears in that area but make sure you're cognizant of grizzlies. The closer you get to Yellowstone, the greater your chance of running into one.
 

Jake Larsen

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
853
Location
Bozeman, MT
There are bears in that area but make sure you're cognizant of grizzlies. The closer you get to Yellowstone, the greater your chance of running into one.
Definitely pay attention to this. The area you mentioned has some of the higher concentrations of Griz in the lower 48, depending on drainage. You can pretty much count on it - if you're into black bears, you're also intk griz.

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
If you want to go the guided route I’ve got a couple slots open early May and early June. Very high success, not nearly as many grizzlys as the Bozeman area!
Dm me for more info if you are interested!
We are pretty much set on doing it ourselves for a number of reasons, one we can't afford it , two for some reason we always do everything the hard way it seems lol. Nothing at all against outfitters. Thank you. I appreciate the feedback
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
Weather is a crap shoot. Could be 70s and sunny, or a blizzard. Good time to hunt that general area, but just be aware of that. Also, depending on the year/drainige/exposure, snow line could be anywhere from 7-9000 feet.


Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
Thanks for the info. Is access usually pretty good by then? Although I imagine it varies a lot depending on the snow year.
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
There are bears in that area but make sure you're cognizant of grizzlies. The closer you get to Yellowstone, the greater your chance of running into one.
This was something we talked about some. While I have experience camping in grizz country, I've never hunted in it. I'm curious about how much the Grizzlies impact the movement and and habits of the black bears. Is that a thing or are there not enough Grizzlies to really matter? Safety wise, we will definitely take precautions about food and carry sidearms. Thanks for the input.
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
Definitely pay attention to this. The area you mentioned has some of the higher concentrations of Griz in the lower 48, depending on drainage. You can pretty much count on it - if you're into black bears, you're also intk griz.

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
Thanks for the advice. Will definitely keep that in mind.
 

Jake Larsen

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
853
Location
Bozeman, MT
Thanks for the info. Is access usually pretty good by then? Although I imagine it varies a lot depending on the snow year.
Depends on what you're expecting for "access" one thing to check - most of the gates on Foret service roads don't open untill June 15th, so just because OnX says there's an access road, doesn't mean you'll be able to use it. Info on gates can be a little tough to track down. I'd definitely call the forest service office and ask about specific roads/drainages once you have a plan, or you might be screwed.

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
Depends on what you're expecting for "access" one thing to check - most of the gates on Foret service roads don't open untill June 15th, so just because OnX says there's an access road, doesn't mean you'll be able to use it. Info on gates can be a little tough to track down. I'd definitely call the forest service office and ask about specific roads/drainages once you have a plan, or you might be screwed.

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk
Ok, I didn't know that. Thanks a lot
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
Up in the northwest area you’ll really miss out on crowds and have great hunting still.
We were initially looking at that area and it's not totally out but coming from Kentucky it's just a long drive which is why we are primarily looking farther south. Also, mid may is about the only time we can all take off work and I was wondering how good access would be up north by then?
 

beauhunter

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
61
Location
NWMT
Access varies from year to year in the NW corner. Typically that time of the year I'm only hunting around 5500 or so. There are also close to three times as many grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide and Cabinet Yaak ecosystems compared to the Greater Yellowstone. At the same time 50% of Montana's bear harvest is taken in the NW corner.
 

alecvg

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
172
Location
MT
If I was coming from out of state to hunt bears, I would definitely go NW. Your driving a long ways anyway, add a few more hours for a better experience.
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
If I was coming from out of state to hunt bears, I would definitely go NW. Your driving a long ways anyway, add a few more hours for a better experience.
Thanks for the advice. We might do that.
 

FCCDerek

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
66
NW Montana is absolutely breathtaking as well. So even if you don't shoot anything you'll see some scenery you won't ever forget. Amazing part of the country there. I live in north idaho, about 20 minutes from the Montana border so I spend a fair amount of time over there. That will be good morel mushroom picking season as well if you're into that. They're very tasty.
 

Wildatheart

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
99
Location
Muscle shoals , Alabama
Thanks for the advice. We might do that.
I’m from Alabama, we hunt MT spring bear each spring. I’m 1 out of 4 so far. 4 trips up & 1 kill. We hunt NW region for various reasons.. mainly because it’s the highest concentration of black bear in the state.. & I promise you they are still hard to find there. The area your talking about is beautiful but full of griz & I’m betting you may not even set eyes on a black bear there… I most definitely would go NW of Missoula. I’ll be there also soon!
 
OP
J

Jamos

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
10
I’m from Alabama, we hunt MT spring bear each spring. I’m 1 out of 4 so far. 4 trips up & 1 kill. We hunt NW region for various reasons.. mainly because it’s the highest concentration of black bear in the state.. & I promise you they are still hard to find there. The area your talking about is beautiful but full of griz & I’m betting you may not even set eyes on a black bear there… I most definitely would go NW of Missoula. I’ll be there also soon!
That's awesome. I think we will be going nw after doing a lot of research. I have a few spots picked out. Also I am somewhat more familiar with that area from previous backpacking trips. While I certainly hope to get a bear I won't complain if we don't either. It's all about the experience for me. Good luck to you.
 
Top